College attendance is expensive. The average price to attend a four-year college is $35,331. That includes tuition, room and board. In general, students who go to college in the states where they live can get lower costs at public universities, while private universities cost more.
The question of whether high school graduates should go to college has become more difficult to answer as college debt has ballooned. Some professions for college graduates do not pay enough for people to pay these debts for years.
And college prices rise most years, which makes the decision about attending ever more complex. Though inflation likely will cause tuition increases in the near future, tuition costs have been rising for decades, with some colleges hiking prices more than others. To determine the college with the largest tuition hike, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed historical tuition data from the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). The 45 institutions we considered had tuition and fees increase of more than 20% from 2015/2016 to 2020/2021.
The school with the largest tuition hike in that time is Columbia College in Columbia, Missouri, where tuition increased by an eye-popping 195%, although the nearly triple increase was from a relatively low base.
Two schools in Texas are ranked second and third: Texas A&M University-Commerce, where tuition rose more than 58%, and Wayland Baptist University, where tuition rose almost 56%. Texas A&M University-Commerce, however, does not look so bad when you look at some other figures. Tuition and fees were still under $10,000 in 2020/2021, and 74% of undergraduates were receiving aid.
Colleges with at least 1,000 students that predominantly grant bachelor’s degrees were ranked based on the percentage increase in published in-state tuition and fees in the specified period. Only schools in which the percentage change in annual net price over the same period increased by at least 5%, and in which the percentage change in average annual amount of federal, state, local, institutional or other sources of grant aid awarded per student did not exceed the increase in in-state tuition and fees, were included. Schools in which 75% or more undergraduates receive federal, state, local, institutional or other sources of grant aid were excluded. Supplemental data on undergraduate enrollment in fall 2020 also came from the NCES.
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